by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It’s been quite a year for MMA living legend Randy “The Natural” Couture. After retiring fallowing his loss to Chuck Liddell in their third match at UFC 57 in February, Randy hasn’t let up, developing a line of supplements, commentating, and a myriad of other things.

In this first part of our two-part interview with Couture, he talks about his life in retirement, making his submission wrestling debut at X-Mission in November, and the constant rumors of his return to MMA fighting.

MMAWeekly: You’ve been retired for about ten months now Randy, tell us about how that time has gone for you.

Randy Couture: Still traveling around, doing work for the Fight Network, analyst and color commentary for the UFC pay-per-views, and just getting ready to go work with Marc Ratner in the New Year on the sanctioning program as kind of an administrator on that program as an athletes’ representative. [I’m] opening two new training centers, one here in Las Vegas, one up in Vancouver, Washington, they should hopefully be open here by the end of the month. [And I] have five new products out on the nutritional line, Couture Nutrition, so basically just plugging away.

MMAWeekly: It sounds like you’re busier now than you were when you were actively fighting.

Randy Couture: [Laughs] Absolutely, I’m going to have to come out of retirement just to get a break. [Laughs]

MMAWeekly: Overall would you say you’ve been enjoying retirement?

Randy Couture: I feel it’s been good. Sometimes it’s a little more stressful I think with being out and about, traveling, being away from home and trying to make ends meat and all that. It’s outside of what I’m used to, which is training and competing, so I’m getting used to it and settling with where I’m at and overall I’m having blast. Things really couldn’t be better.

MMAWeekly: Your last fight was in February against Chuck Liddell. Now that you’ve had time to reflect on your professional career, what are your thoughts on it?

Randy Couture: I’ve got no complaints. I think I accomplished a lot and got a good reputation for myself in this sport and I think I represented the sport to the best of my ability. So I’ve got nothing to complain about, it’s been an amazing ride.

MMAWeekly: Obviously since you retired there’ve been a ton of rumors regarding your return to MMA fighting. Have you heard any of them and what are your thoughts on the rumors?

Randy Couture: I just got a call yesterday wanting to know if it was true I was fighting Wanderlei Silva in February, and I was like, “If I am, it’s news to me…I better get training.” [Laughs] I think it’s par for the course, everyone wanted to know when I was going to retire and now everyone wants to know when I’m coming back, it’s kind of the way things go.

I think under the right circumstances, the right situation, I could come back out and compete. I’m certainly physically capable of competing, a lot of things have settled down in my personal life this last year and I feel a lot more like myself. Things have certainly been hectic and busy, but it’s been fun. I always say, “Never say never,” but by the time you say that, things change.

MMAWeekly: One of the other rumors we heard was that you were possibly going to fight Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Was that ever a possibility?

Randy Couture: Not in a real sense. I haven’t had any fight thrown at me in a real sense. There’s people that have suggested, “Why don’t you come out and fight Tim?” and people have been a little disappointed in his last two performances. I think his last two performances have been great. They’ve been a little bit on the conservative side, I think he’s fighting more not to lose instead of fighting to win. Because of that approach it hasn’t been as exciting as Tim has the capability of being.

I am walking around now at 230lbs, back to my heavyweight days, and can certainly go back and compete in that division, but Tim’s one of the reasons why I chose to go down to light-heavyweight. When guys are starting to be 6’5″-6’10”, cutting weight to make the [265lb] limit – that’s a big man…he’s a very good fighter, very skilled and when you start giving up that kind of weight, you are at a disadvantage and it can be a big problem. No one has seriously approached me with an opportunity to fight Tim Sylvia, so it’s all one in the same, rumors.

MMAWeekly: I’m sure if you ever did sign to return to MMA fighting you’d let it be known, rather than just let it be shrouded in mystery.

Randy Couture: If it ever seriously materializes everybody will be the first to know, I think that’s for sure. [Laughs]

MMAWeekly: This past November you competed in the Professional Submission League’s “X-Mission” show. How was that experience being able to get back in there and compete in that arena?

Randy Couture: I had a blast. I definitely wanted to get back in and compete in wrestling, I never got the chance to do any submission wrestling and I saw Rico’s [Chiapparelli] first LA Submission-X and I thought it was great. It highlighted and showcased the athletes of the sport real well, so I was happy was to be able to compete in it. Of course they threw me right in the best guy in the world, Jacare, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a guy that caliber and how I would fare, but overall I think it went well. I had a great time.

MMAWeekly: You were able to hang in there with one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists in the world, that has to feel good.

Randy Couture: I hung with Jacare. I would have liked to train a little harder and been in a little better shape, I would have been more aggressive, especially more on my feet. With my wrestling background I thought I had an advantage there that I wasn’t able to capitalize on. Overall I felt like I dealt with the problems that Jacare posed pretty well. It was a good match, a lot of people liked it, and it was pretty exciting, so overall it was great.

MMAWeekly: Was there any urge to use your trademark dirty boxing or ground ‘n pound during the match?

Randy Couture: [Laughs] Yeah I would have loved to have done something. It crossed my mind a couple of times, “Boy I’d really like to drop a forearm on him.”

MMAWeekly: So it’s something you’d definitely be interested in doing again in the future?

Randy Couture: Absolutely.

Stay tuned to the second part of our two-part interview with Randy Couture as he talks about what keeps him busy in retirement, his thoughts on the evolution of MMA and his breakdown of UFC 66’s World Light-Heavyweight Championship fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.